Summer Tortellini Salad is a quick and easy pasta salad side dish for your next summer potluck or picnic! This delicious tortellini pasta salad is packed with all of the fresh summer flavors you love, like cherry tomatoes, arugula, and fresh parsley.
Summer Tortellini Salad with Arugula has the perfect balance of cheese, pasta, and veggies. This salad can be enjoyed any time of the year, however, I think it is particularly perfect for hot summer days at the park, on the boat, or at the beach.
A pasta salad is the classic side dish that shows up at every BBQ, backyard party, and birthday party. The next time you're assigned to make the pasta salad, skip the mayonnaise-based macaroni salad and try my summer tortellini recipe!
My Summer Tortellini Salad recipe is full of light, fresh ingredients, making it the perfect light lunch, cold pasta salad, or weeknight dinner.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy-to-make tortellini pasta salad can be made in under 20 minutes! Less time spent in a hot kitchen in the summer is a WIN for me!
- This is a no-mayonnaise recipe, making it perfect for picnics, camping, and outdoor parties.
- This is an excellent make-ahead recipe that stores easily and actually tastes better a couple of hours after it is made. Simply pop it into some Tupperware and throw it in a cooler with an ice pack!
- It's easy to double for the times you need to make an extra large batch of pasta salad.
- This is a very simple recipe with minimal ingredients.
- Tortellini Summer Salad is a vegetarian recipe, but you can easily add meat if you'd like the extra protein! Chicken, shrimp, or white beans would be my top recommendations!
- Cheese tortellini: You'll need a family-sized package of cheese-filled tortellini. Use either plain or multi-colored tortellini!
- Arugula: Fresh, crisp, arugula adds vibrant color and a little peppery bite to the pasta salad.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly shredded parmesan adds a sharp, salty flavor.
- Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are abundant in the summer months. They add fresh, seasonal flavors and vibrant colors to the salad.
- Additional ingredients: Ingredients added to boost the flavor of this salad include red onions, fresh parsley, garlic powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, ground black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
- Large mixing bowl - I love these stackable glass mixing bowls!
- Cutting board and chopping knife.
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons.
- Large stock pot to boil the tortellini in.
How to make Summer Tortellini Salad
Step 1: Cook tortellini according to package instructions, drain, and set aside. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a large glass mixing bowl.
Step 2: Add the cooked tortellini, chopped cherry tomatoes, diced onion, chopped parsley, and shredded parm to the bowl with the summer vinaigrette.
Step 3: Toss to combine. Once combined, carefully mix in the fresh arugula.
Step 4: Transfer the Summer Tortellini Salad to a serving bowl, serve immediately, and enjoy!
- Cook your tortellini according to package instructions. Tortellini is done when it floats to the top of the boiling water. This usually happens in under 5 minutes! Keep a close eye on the tortellini and don't let it overcook. Tortellini can start to fall apart if it's overcooked.
- As soon as the tortellini has finished cooking, drain the boiling water and rinse the tortellini with cold water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- If you're short on time, you can make your pasta in advance. Cook the tortellini the day or night before you will be making your salad.
- You could make the vinaigrette ahead of time too!
- I've only tested this recipe with fresh tortellini. I've never tried it with frozen or dried tortellini.
- Tortellini - This is a bright and colorful salad. If you would like even more color, try making this with multicolored tortellini!
- Add protein - If you would like to add some protein to this pasta salad recipe, try adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or cannellini beans! My Grilled Shrimp and Chicken Kabobs would be perfect with this salad!
- Vinaigrette - Change up the dressing. You could try a fresh basil pesto vinaigrette, Italian dressing, or a balsamic dressing.
- Cheese - In addition to parmesan cheese, you could add fresh mozzarella balls or feta cheese.
- Greens - If arugula is too peppery for you, try spinach instead.
- Veggies - Substitute cherry tomatoes with red bell peppers, corn, peas, zucchini, or any of your favorite summer vegetables.
- Herbs - Swap out fresh parsley for fresh basil. Fresh basil is a very common ingredient in summer salads!
Summer Tortellini Salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you plan on serving it at a party though, I would only make it up to 24 hours in advance. Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container.
This pasta salad recipe will not freeze well.
Frequently asked questions
Tortellini is a versatile pasta that goes well with almost all meats. I would serve tortellini with grilled chicken breast, chicken thighs, shrimp, scallops, pulled pork, pork tenderloin, and steak.
Yes, tortellini is delicious eaten hot or cold.
Tortellini is super easy to cook! Simply add tortellini to boiling water and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
Pasta salad can usually be dressed up to 24 hours in advance. It's often recommended to dress pasta salad the night before because it allows flavors in the salad to meld together.
What to serve with Tortellini Pasta
- BBQ Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
- Grilled Shrimp and Chicken Kabobs
- Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Sauerkraut Hotdogs
- Grilled Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
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